Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A good time with Autism

Is he having a good time?  Is he having fun?  Is he enjoying this moment that we have planned for, read social stories about, recited the schedule of events till I was blue in the face?  Is this everything I hyped it up to be?  A lot of the times, I've got no flipping clue.  None.

Case in point.  A few weeks ago my town had one of those "Touch A Truck" events.   Great concept.  Roll in a ton of firetrucks, buses, police cars, construction vehicles, etc and let kids go hog wild. Climb all over them! Honk the horns! Flash the lights!  Plus, do it as many times as you want because the event is free!  It's a win win!

In true French Fry Inc form we approach this event with care and planning. Tell him to soon that it's coming, he will drive himself into a frenzy waiting for it.   If I don't give him enough time however, meltdown city.  This ain't my first rodeo.  I'm kind of getting good on the timing.   The DATE becomes etched in the stone or in kiddo and we pray like crazy that the thing doesn't rain out.  Hell hath no fury like a kiddo off his schedule due to rain.  I will just be instructed to turn it off.   So there are many conversations on what we will see, what will he go on first, what vehicles he wants me to take pictures of that I know later he will pour over on his ipad with great obsession.  Finally the day arrives!  The weather couldn't be more perfect.  Not to hot.  Not to cold.  Sunny without a cloud in the sky.   He happily drives with us over to where it is AND he is...

Stunned Silent.

He does run around with a purpose.  Darting to each thing but I can tell he's doing the check list in his head of what he thinks he HAS to see.   I'm praying that all the things are there or it will get ugly fast.   He quickly climbs aboard...

A school bus.

Yes, a bus.  The very vehicle that he rides on five days a week all year long.   A bus he has ridden on since the day after he turned 3.  All this choice.  A school bus.  It's not even the driver's seat he goes for.  Nope, purposely walking toward some seat in the middle which was thankfully vacant.  I suspect he remembers riding on that one from a class trip.  Maybe one that happened years ago.  Most of the other kids climbing aboard are much younger than him.  I suspect they are the younger siblings who watch their brothers and sisters go off to school with envy.  My boy is just there.  Quiet.  Sitting.  To the point where we have to give him a timed countdown of when to get off and go look at something else.

He was a good sport and did so but after every venture to a new vehicle we had to return to the bus.   There was a safety to it.  A comfort I suppose.  I know a few years ago I would of gotten frustrated and said "Let's go home.  This is ridiculous.  He goes on one every day."  Now? I'm just like "Well he's not screaming and we're out of the house so I think he's having fun?"  The whole time he's still very quiet.  Granted the whole event is really effing noisy so I suspect that this was his own little sensory respite he built for himself.   Check out noisy other new thing, then retreat to the bus.  Whatever, it was working for him.  It didn't cost me a dime.   So what if we went on the bus 42 times in the span of an hour?

I did manage on that last trip on it to get him in the drivers seats.   He approached it with such reverence and seemed quite in awe sitting at it.  Part of me was thinking "Come on kiddo, lay on that horn! I know ya wanna!"  That's not his style though.  He was to busy taking it all in.

We retired after to some fine dining at a fast food eatery.  There, I watched him slowly come down from his quiet high for lack of better words.  He started finally talking about what he had just seen.  A more relaxed but joyful tone returns to his voice and he is smiling.  Yep, he had a good time.  Sometimes I just got to trust the way he does things and how he handles his world. 

I always have to remember though to order another side of fries. 


  1. This brings back so many memories of our early outings with R. There really is a fine line as to when to "break the news" to them isn't there?!?

    You are definitely on the fast track with your little fry! :D

  2. I love the story! How funny about the bus... but you know what.. that seems just right :) He finally got to run free on it! I am loving your blog and everything I've read so far! Such a nice perspective to read from a mom's perspective!

    The Adventures of Room 83

  3. It sounds to me like everything was set up and timed out perfectly on your part! And yes, it definitely seems as if kiddo had a good time. Envisioning the scene in my mind, even *I* had a good time thinking about him being happy. :)

  4. I'm glad it went well. Having to count my kid down to get him to move on to something else is ALL too familiar. Just a normal day for us, right?

  5. My husband is very good at just letting our boy "do what he wants." I'm the one saying, you have to go down the slide! Come on, I'll show you! But his dad just says, "If he has fun sitting at the top and watching other kids go down, let him."

    This reminded me of your boy enjoying the vehicles a little differently - but it is wonderful that you let him have a great time in his way. We all have different ways of enjoying things!